The NPR Organic Farming Series (4 parts, ran Nov. 1-4, '93) was on "Morning
Edition" and the reporter was Daniel Zwerdling. One of our (UC Sustainable
Ag Research & Educ. Program) projects was mentioned on the first day--farm
advisor Glenn McGourty and his video "Alive & Well: Sustainable Soil
Mangaement" (it can be ordered from Visual Media at UC Davis,
916-757-8980). Nice series. I ordered the transcript and tape. You can
order the whole thing for $15 (call 202-822-2323 or write NPR transcripts,
2025 M St., N.W., Washington, DC 20036).
> Date: Thu, 11 Nov 1993 19:10:36 -0500 (EST)
> From: Gabriel Andrew Hegyes <email@example.com>
> Subject: Organic Farming on NPR (fwd)
> To: SANET-mg <firstname.lastname@example.org>
> Mime-Version: 1.0
> Content-Type: TEXT/PLAIN; charset=US-ASCII
> ---------- Forwarded message ----------
> Date: Thu, 11 Nov 1993 09:50:41 -0600 (CST)
> From: Steve Diver <email@example.com>
> To: firstname.lastname@example.org
> Cc: Steve Diver <email@example.com>
> Subject: Organic Farming on NPR (fwd)
> Sustag-public surfers:
> Last week somebody asked about the series on NPR's
> Morning Edition on organic farming. I only heard the second
> broadcast, but had a pen and paper ready while I was sitting
> at the breakfast table eating a bowl of cereal.
> Here's what I'd written up to share with co-workers.
> > KUAF/NPR ran the 2nd of a 3 part series on organic farming
> > Tuesday a.m. Part 1 was on the organic wine grape industry in
> > CA. Part 3 will be on how the "green way (wave?)" is spreading
> > from the farm field into the factories."
> > Part 2, this a.m., was on the organic cotton industry in CA.
> > The report was by Daniel Worthsling (sp?).
> > Daniel opened with an image of the San Juaquin Valley, cotton in
> > all directions. Next, a crop duster chewing on a tootsie roll was
> > getting ready to put out the insecticides [and defoliants]. The
> > duster said about 100,000 acres would be sprayed this season.
> > When asked what would happen without these pesticides, the pilot
> > said there would be a disastrous crop loss.
> > D.W. next alluded to a recent Texas study that said if all the
> > nation's farms shunned pesticides, yields would plunge 78%.
> > To counter this view, he next introduced Hal Ricker, USDA's
> > lead man for its organic farming program. Ricker
> > said there's been a dramatic change in USDA in recent years.
> > Whereas before organic farmers were ridiculed, now there is a
> > climate where top scientists and administrators are observing
> > that it works.
> > Just 3 weeks ago Ricker said he met with the Asst. Sec. So and So,
> > Deputy This, and the Administrator himself [Sec. Espy]. All were
> > very interested in the progress of the organic program. They
> > viewed it as an asset to rural development.
> > Next, D.W. interviewed Claude Shepherd, who runs an organic cotton
> > operation. C.W. said "we're out here on our own, there's nobody
> > researching this and there's nobody who can tell us what we need
> > to do." C.W.'s wife explained that C.W. was getting sick from
> > exposure to pesticides and decided to switch.
> > Next, D.W. interviewed Sean Sweazy with the UC System. S.S. was
> > looking for beneficial insects, sweeping a field with a bug net.
> > He started counting the bennies off....big-eyed bug, .....
> > Sweazy said organic fields harbor more pests overall than
> > conventional fields, but there were also 2-3 times as many
> > predator bugs present.
> > Sweazy pulled up a cotton plant and studied the placement of
> > cotton bolls in relation to the stem/roots. He likened the
> > organic plant to a Christmas tree and said the architecture
> > was an indicator of plant nutition. "Something biologically
> > very desirable is going on in this field."
> > Sweazy said there are large areas of the San Juaquin Valley
> > suitable to organic cotton production.
> > Claude's costs were 10-15% higher than conventional fields
> > but the yields were the same. Cotton companies like
> > Espirit and The Gap were also paying 2 times the conventional
> > price for organic cotton.
> > D.W. caught two neighboring farmers driving down the road.
> > Gary Lorenzo and Guy Borba are partners in 4,000 acres of
> > cotton and they also custom combine. Last year when they
> > combined Claude's fields they saw no aphids, and his fields
> > had not been sprayed. Meanwhile, their fields were loaded
> > with aphids and they'd been sprayed to the maximum. They were
> > very impressed. "It opens your eyes," they said.
> > This year they went organic. Claude Shephard is giving them
> > advice.
> Steve Diver
> Fayetteville, AR
UC Sustainable Agriculture Research & Education Program
Davis, CA 95616